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World Trauma Day: Preventing and Managing Trauma in India

World Trauma Day: Preventing and Managing Trauma in India

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  • World Trauma Day marked on 17th October each year began in New Delhi with the Trauma Society of South Africa joining a year later
  • This day is marked to consider strategies for the prevention and management of traumatic events which occur each year in both India and South Africa
  • The World Health Organization recognizes trauma as a major cause of disability and death globally

What is Trauma?

Trauma refers to an injury caused to the body. The reasons for injury could vary from road accidents, falls, burns, industrial explosions, and fires to violence against women, elders and children. Traumatic injuries from any cause can lead to temporary or permanent disability. It especially affects the younger working population thereby lowering the national productivity of any nation. Every year, almost 5 million people die from injuries across the world. An estimate indicates that 1 million people in India die from injuries and 20 million are hospitalized each year. The National Crime Records Bureau statistics indicate that 1,37,000 people died in motor accidents in 2013. Road accidents are the leading cause of trauma both in India and globally. Good road design and maintenance can prevent traumatic road accidents. It is also necessary to have good trauma care to immediately deal with the fall outs of accidents. If timely emergency care is available, nearly 2 million lives can be saved every year in low and middle income nations.

World Trauma Day 2017

World Trauma Day marked on 17th October each year commenced in New Delhi. The Trauma Society of South Africa joined in a year later. This day is marked to consider strategies for the prevention and management of traumatic events which occur every year in both India and South Africa. The World Health Organization recognizes trauma as a major cause of disability and death globally. Traumas kill more people than HIV and cancer put together. Most of trauma deaths occur in low and middle income countries which lack robust trauma care and emergency care specialty.


Marking World Trauma Day is necessary to emphasize the importance of saving lives during traumatic accidents and emergencies. It is essential for every nation to have quality emergence and trauma care to protect and save lives. This day is a call-to-action to take stock of current trauma care measures in the country and put in place quality, robust measures to avoid disability and death. The damage from trauma can be prevented with:
  • Quick response systems and early intervention
  • Robust pre-hospital interventions through well-equipped ambulance, medical supplies and trained personnel
  • Well-trained and adequate emergency care personnel
In India, lives are lost and people become disabled permanently due to inadequate pre-hospital care. Often, road accident victims are left bleeding on the road as citizens do not want to help and get involved. The first few minutes being critical are lost as nothing is done to help the victim. Traffic jams often prevent ambulances from reaching the spot on time. Such delays impact the crucial first few hours in protecting and saving the victim. The Law Commission of India observed that 50% of those killed in road accidents could have been saved with timely help.

In a landmark judgment in March 2016, the Supreme Court of India passed an order on the recommendations of a three-member committee to protect citizens who can help save road accident victims. This will prevent the police and other authorities from harassing those who report the accident or help the victim. No citizen can be forced to be a witness if he/she chooses not to be. This judgment will go a long way because good Samaritans who can help accident victims will do so without fears.

In most Indian cities and large towns, ambulance services are available to assist accident victims. One such service known as "Sanjeevini" in Bangalore, Mysore, Tumkur and Shivamoga provides 24/7 assistance through its fleet of ambulances, trained personnel and equipment. These ambulances have ICU care equipment which is crucial for saving lives. However, it is important for all citizens to be aware of helpline numbers for saving the lives of trauma victims. In India, ambulance helpline is 102 and medical helpline is 108 (Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Assam, Meghalaya, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh). New Delhi has a Centralized Accident and Trauma Services (CATS) helpline - 1099.

World trauma day is an opportunity for Indian health care authorities including central and state health secretariats to boost measures for trauma and accident care. Public health care needs to gear up better to deal with accidents and traumas. Bureaucratic delays in government hospitals must be eliminated to provide immediate emergency services. In big cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad; the choking traffic often delays critical care interventions. There is a need to consider the use of airlifting via helicopters in severe cases. The critical need of the hour in India is public health education to inform citizens on the do's and don'ts during trauma and accidents. With low levels of awareness and lack of basic first-aid training, citizens are often confused what to do when they witness an accident. Some tips to educate citizens include:
  • Do not move the injured person yourself. Wait for medical help to transport the person in an ambulance
  • Call the nearest police station and ambulance service
  • Do not crowd around the injured person
  • Loosen any tight clothes like neck tie
  • Do not give the injured person water to drink immediately. He/she may choke
In India, hospitals and other health care organizations usually organize public information programs on world trauma day to sensitize people on the dangers of injuries and accidents. Such public service programs are of utmost importance for the general public who are largely ignorant. More people should be given first-aid training to be able to support accident and trauma victims when they come across such cases. As a citizen, it is a duty to help such victims and not walk away with apathy. Remember that next time it could be any of us!
References :
  1. World Trauma Day - (https://www.nhp.gov.in/World-Trauma-Day_pg)
  2. Trauma - (http://www.traumacanada.org/Resources/Documents/Events/World_Trauma_Day_Oct_17_2015.pdf)
  3. About World Trauma Day - (http://patienttalk.org/tag/world-trauma-day/)
  4. October 17 is World Trauma Day - (https://www.openpediatrics.org/news/monday-october-17-world-trauma-day)

Source: Medindia

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